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How to improve communication at work and boost team performance

Is your team struggling with underperformance? The solution could be simpler than you think. 

There is a proven (and common) link between poor communication within a team and underperformance. Teams who are lacking in communication skills, tend to perform more poorly than teams who communicate seamlessly. 

We communicate each and every day, sometimes without even knowing it. We communicate through our body language, through text, even through emoji’s. But all of this communication is useless if we aren’t speaking the same language.

If you want to learn how to improve your communication skills at work and ultimately build a high performance team, then you should keep reading. 

Why good communication skills are important in a team

As we wave goodbye to the industrialised society that we once were, soft skills have become one of the most highly sought after attributes a person can have. Teamwork and collaboration is king in the modern workplace, and to master those, you’ve got to have a suite of sharp soft skills. One in particular being communication.

Communication really is everything within a workplace. It is the grease that allows an organisation to operate smoothly and as one, well-oiled machine. 

From communicating performance improvement opportunities to project deadlines and progress, employees must be able to effectively communicate with one another to unlock high performance. Without effective communication, your team will inevitably experience double-handling, conflict, poor work quality and stakeholder dissatisfaction.

If you’re looking to amp up your team’s performance, then the best place to start is, you guessed it – honing your communication skills.

7 ways to improve team communication

Communication skills are called skills for a reason. Improving communication within a team requires learning and practice, but is all worth it when you see the impact it will have on your team’s performance. Here are 7 practical ways to improve team performance.

Effective communication isn’t all about talking. The largest component to effective communication is actually listening to what other people have to say. Instead of thinking about how you may respond, remain in the moment and actively listen to what they’ve got to say. Don’t try to multitask, replying to an email or a Slack message at the same time. Give the one conversation your full attention.

When meeting with somebody face-to-face or through video call, it is important to consider your body language. While the exact percentage of communication received through body language is undetermined, we can confirm that it is very high. 

When meeting with someone, you want to utilise open body language and appear to be accessible, engaged and listening. To display open body language, a good rule of thumb is to maintain eye contact, use facial expressions, sit up straight, keep your head up and use hand gestures. Avoid crossing your arms, fidgeting and fixing your gaze on something else.

Asking questions is an excellent way to improve your communication skills. By asking questions, you can gather more data to draw from and put together a more accurate story. By doing this, you can effectively reduce miscommunication and stay on the right path. 

Although automatic spelling and grammar checkers are useful, they don’t pick up on everything and they certainly can’t improve the way you communicate. Even if you are busier than a vacuum in a dirt factory, check your messages, emails and texts before you hit send. Make sure that your messages are clear, concise and communicate exactly what you intend to say with no room for misinterpretation.

If you are not 100% sure about something that has been communicated, check in with the person who conveyed the message. Reiterate your understanding and ask if it is correct. Filling in the blanks with your own assumed knowledge can often lead to incorrect work and double handling.This is particularly important in scenarios where non-verbal cues are limited. Much of our communication occurs through nuance and body language. When this is taken away, for example in written or virtual contexts, information can become misinterpreted. 

Instead of simply telling your team what to do, encourage robust, collaborative discussions. Create a space for brainstorming and innovation, where every member feels like their voice is being heard and valued. Even if a particular subject matter doesn’t normally involve certain members of the team, invite them anyway. They can provide a valuable perspective that may not have been considered otherwise. By encouraging these types of conversations, your team will be able to practice communicating and help to develop new ideas that could lead to better quality of work.

Self awareness is a huge factor in improving your communication skills. By reflecting on your behaviours, communication style and the communication style of others, you will be able to better understand what went wrong in particular scenarios and learn from them. By reflecting regularly, you will be able to reduce miscommunication and perform better as a team. 

Improve your team’s communication skills with Performance By Design

Our team of expert consultants can help catapult your team towards high performance by building upon their communication skills. Through 1-1 coaching and team training sessions, your team will master the art of communication in no time. Contact our friendly team today to discuss options to suit your business.